Racing isn’t something everyone does, but training for racing is something everyone can do. Any motivation to improve the status of your body, improving strength, endurance, muscle mass, lowering fat, tightening up joints to withstand daily life and activities better, and look better are all good things. If you want to race and be fast, your ability to have powerful strokes throughout the race, faster than the others you are competing against, requires some basic physical attributes that I am training for right now.
Power/strength- I am doing my “Fat off/Muscle On” workout three times/week right now. This circuit weight training program is one of my tried and true secret weapons for lowering body fat, increasing muscle mass/power, and muscle endurance is going well. It is a circuit that starts with a lightweight dumbbell warm-up of your PNF exercises for about 2 minutes. Then it is three rounds of this series- Bench (or push-ups if I am on the road), Pull-Ups, Dips, Curls, overhead press, bent over rows, then an awesome Ab sequence of 9 different moves at 10 times each… then repeat it two more times.
I start with 145 pounds on the bench, then 165, then 145, 10 second rest/transfer
10 pull-ups each round- 10 seconds rest/transfer
20 dips each round- 10 seconds rest/transfer
35 pounds on the curls and overhead first 2 and down to 30 if I can’t do 10 reps each (I don’t put the weights down between curls/overhead)- 10 seconds rest
75 pounds on the Rows- 12 each- 10 seconds rest
Ab sequence- then 1 minute rest before second set- I do three sets of this- heart rate is highest during the dips-curls/overhead combo… this is a very fast paced, hard workout, but only lasts for 22 minutes.
You can watch my instructional video on how to do this on the Pear Sports website and/or buy the workout for $4.99 and be fully coached by me while doing it if you want. (need an iPhone or android )
On the water training typically there is endurance training in the off season- doing longer pieces- 30 minutes, etc.. I also do 5 minute pieces during the season that work on power. Now- three weeks before the World Extreme Racing Championships, which is a 60 second race down super hard rapids, having power for acceleration and lactic tolerance is the key. Lactic Tolerance is simply your ability to process the by-products of burning lactic acid-( the primary fuel for a 60 second race, you go too fast for just oxygen)- and being able to maintain the high speed without cramping up or slowing down. The best way to prepare for a high lactic acid burning race is to train with high lactic acid levels. If you don’t you will regret it on race day. There is no better lactic tolerance workout than 60 on 60 off. This is simply 60 seconds of full speed sprinting with 60 seconds of active rest or complete rest and you repeat it 4-6 times and then do a second set. It gets you going on the first one, you feel strong but it starts to hurt on the second one, and by the third one, assuming y0u are doing it right (full speed) you start to get forearm tightness, muscles lose power after 45 seconds, and you slow down… in the beginning. After a week or so of doing this for a few times/week, you start to be able to carry your speed and staying power into the 4th and 5th ones, and your body handles the high level of lactic acid without the crashing and burning you get in the beginning. Heart rate goes up to near max on these, there is a strong endurance/cardio component as well, but it is more focused on high speed abilities.
I recommend doing 2 sets with at least 5 minutes in between sets. If you worked hard enough in the first set for maximum benefit, you will not want to, or be able to give a good effort without a short break on the next set.
The way to do a 60 on 60 off workout in your kayak without having a coach with you (I don’t have this workout ready on Pear Sports yet), you simply start your stop watch and every 2 minutes you start a new run. If you have an attainable section of river, like at Rock Island, what we do is make a course in the whitewater that is approximately 60 seconds- typically it is 65 seconds and you try to get to 60. In the scenario you do your course as fast as you can and time each run and it will be variable depending on how well you did the course (technique) as well as how fast you paddled (physical). This is the best way to do this workout because you have to focus on paddling well and doing every move well while pushing your physical limits and pain threshold at the same time. When you touch the finish line, look at your watch and get your time… you will start the next one on the “minute” meaning when your stop watch gets to the top on an old school watch or when it says 0 on the digital ones.
After you finish your Lactic Tolerance workout- be sure to paddle around for a few minutes to finish flushing your Hydrogen Ions, the fatiguing by product of burning lactic acid out of your muscles. You will feel tight and tired after you finish, and likely feel like you will throw up. If you enjoy physical workouts and the benefits you get from them, this will be a favorite as you improve quickly and see the results in tighter muscles, more feeling of power in your strokes, and way more staying power when paddling really hard for 30 seconds to 5 minutes.
It is important to focus on good forward strokes, and focusing on the moves in the whitewater as physical effort doesn’t mean being fast. Efficient physical effort and good technique does. There is no substitute in kayak racing in whitewater for skill. Skills outweigh physical side every time. However, assuming a similar skill level and implementation of that skill, being able to paddle faster on the right line is the way to win.
If you want to try a paddling workout that is coached- but not as intense as the 60-on-60 off- try my “Power Kayak Mixer” which combines a 5 minute piece with 20 second sprints. These sprints are full speed, of course, but the feeling of doing this workout is not quite as intense due to shorter pieces.
Here is a video showing what 60 on 60 off looks like- not the entire thing, but a sampling…
I hope this helps you with some ideas on how to use your kayak as a fitness tool, and what kinds of workouts do what for you!
I’ll do more fitness related posts on this website from time to time, so keep your eyes open!
Here is a training run at the actual World’s site- Austria..